Cory Sandhagen Considers Petr Yan The Champion, Says Defeating Him Would Make Him Feel Like A Champ
Cory Sandhagen said defeating Petr Yan would mean a lot for him.
Yan and Aljamain Sterling were supposed to share the octagon for the second time at UFC 267. It was the first title defense for Sterling, but doctors did not permit him to do that. Sandhagen replaced the champion, and will share the octagon with Yan for the interim bantamweight title.
“I think everyone sees Yan as the champ of the division and the best in the division,” Sandhagen said.
“I think it will mean a lot. It never feels real until it actually is real, and now that I’m fighting for a UFC belt, even though it’s an interim one, it would feel like I’m the champ.”
Sandhagen held a brutal fight with former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw earned a split decision victory, but many fighters and fans think Sandhagen did enough for victory.
Even former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said that Cory won that fight because of Dillashaw’s face damage.
“I would definitely know that I have some quieting of the voices about the Sterling loss I’ve had and then the T.J. loss that I had, but those will be very exciting rematches in the division.”
Yan lost his title against Sterling at UFC 259.
The Russian fighter was winning the fight and was dominant for all rounds, but in the fourth round, he landed an illegal knee to the face, and Sterling could not continue the fight.
Because of that, many MMA fans consider Yan the champion of the bantamweight division.
Sandhagen is a very different matchup for Yan.
Sterling is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter with lots of submissions, but Sandhagen is an amazing striker with a huge reach for the bantamweight division.